Leeds' trio of strikers show true value as new manager capitalises on London side's lethargy

Reid rides the waves as Viduka turns tide

Charlton Athletic 1 Leeds United 6

If Leeds United, as their new manager Peter Reid puts it, are a liner and not a canoe (he was trying to state how big a club they are), then he appears determined not to be cast as Captain Edward Smith. Football's equivalent of the Titanic may be sailing not so merrily towards a debt mountain of iceberg proportions, but a course is being plotted to avoid relegation.

An astonishing display of real purpose and power overwhelmed a Charlton side lacking both. The startling margin was in no way flattering – it was that convincing. The unlikely hero was Mark Viduka, so often castigated, but showing the threat of two years ago. He was run close – with Sven Goran Eriksson watching – by Alan Smith. On this form, Smith is an international again. Little wonder that after Leeds' fourth goal, bewildered visiting fans struck up a chorus of "What the hell is going on?" – or words to that effect. It would have been no surprise if the home end had joined in. Many headed for the exit as early as the 55th minute.

Before the match, the contrast between the two clubs was arresting. Afterwards it was too. Charlton financially sound; Leeds deep in debt. Instead of "living the dream", as the now departed Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale described his failings, Charlton have built a reality. A new stadium, fully paid for, and a squad patiently assembled and carefully nurtured. But the Valley is a happy hunting ground for Leeds: it was their third win in a row here. With four home games to go, Reid, the former Sunderland manager, will feel he can avoid the quiz-question status of being at the helm of two Premiership clubs relegated in the same season.

Instead he had the statisticians looking for the last time such a defeat was inflicted on Charlton, and with such pan-ache. He was, understandably, buoyant. "Today the players have set themselves really good standards which they have to keep up," he said, looking a little shell-shocked. "Some of the goals were terrific, terrific goals, but the catalyst was the work ethic."

Indeed it was. Reid's first match ended in defeat at Liverpool. Here he dropped Paul Okon, Raul Bravo and Teddy Lucic, all signed by Terry Venables, among five changes. Reid put his faith, as is his wont, in the old guard. Dom-inic Matteo played in midfield, creating a platform for Viduka, Smith and Harry Kewell. They did not let Reid down.

Charlton were pinned back from the start by a series of corners, then the three strikers combined for the opening goal. Kewell began and ended the move, transferring the ball via Viduka to Smith, whose clever, low cross was sidefooted in. Next, Scott Parker had to scuff the ball off the line, and moments later Richard Rufus panicked, pulling down Smith for a penalty. Such was Leeds' hunger that Viduka and Ian Harte fought over the ball before the Irishman scored.

Energised, Leeds kept coming forward, Viduka scoring with a remarkable, confident drive from an acute angle after collecting Smith's knock-down. On half-time, Charlton jangled Leeds' nerves as Jason Euell converted another pen-alty after Parker collided with Lucas Radebe's boot.

At the break, Alan Curbish-ley made two changes, the only surprise being that he did not make three. Immediately Parker forced a reaction save by Robinson as he picked up Euell's flick-on, but Leeds soon added a fourth. Smith's tricky turn and purposeful run set up Viduka who, with memorable composure, flicked the ball with the outside of his boot to beat Kiely. Remarkable.

Smith created the hat-trick goal for his attacking partner as he won a second penalty after Luke Young careered into him. This time Harte stayed back and Viduka chipped the ball calmly over Kiely's dive. Kewell, not to be outdone, scored a sixth as he intercepted substitute Tahar El-Khalej's slack pass and ran unmolested to shoot calmly from inside the area. There was even time for Viduka to hit the bar. Seventh heaven? After a year of nightmares, Leeds fans must have felt they were living a dream again.

For Curbishley, clearly hurt, it was a nightmare. "It is quite astonishing," he kept repeating. "I do not want to take away anything from Leeds because they made us look that bad, but it was an astonishing performance by us."

It was no-nonsense stuff by Leeds – and not the only example of Reid's approach on show this week. He has met Ridsdale's successor, Professor John McKenzie, twice and those talks may have featured in Max Clifford's departure as an adviser on the club's public image. Reid clearly feels he can handle that task himself.

One note of caution, however. Before kick-off Charlton paraded the new signing Hermann Hreidarsson, picked up for a modest £800,000 from Ipswich. If Reid keeps Leeds up he will still have to contend with a clear-out of players as the board, apparently, need to raise another £20m. Eirik Bakke seems certain to go, but the real marketable assets – this is a business, of course – are Smith, Kewell and Viduka. Without them here, where would Leeds have been?

Charlton Athletic 1 Leeds United 6
Euell pen 45; Kewell 12, 76, Harte pen 34, Viduka 42, 53, pen 56

Half-time: 1-3 Attendance: 26,274

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game